Sophie Croizier, Assistant Professor

Sophie obtained her PhD in 2011 from the University of Franche-Comte in Besancon, France. During her PhD she studied the fetal development of hypothalamic circuits controlling energy balance. She then joined Dr Bouret laboratory at the University of Southern California where she further develops her knowledge in postnatal development of hypothalamic circuits but also investigates their functional regulation. In April 2017, she started her own research project as SNSF Ambizione fellow at the CIG on identifying new factors involved in the synapse formation into hypothalamic arcuate neurons controlling the energy and glucose homeostasis. She recently obtained a medical research position from the Prof. Dr. Max Cloetta foundation.


The overweight and obesity pandemics and associated diseases such as type 2 diabetes, are major public health concerns. Whereas a small proportion of obesity is explained by genetics, we are now facing a dramatic increase of cases of obesity inherent to environmental alteration. Among those, access to palatable food and daily anxiety play an indisputable role in the development of obesity, particularly in women. In this context, the prevalence of obese women of childbearing age dramatically increased. Alarmingly, epidemiological and rodent studies pointed out a role of the maternal environment alteration in the development of metabolic diseases in children and offspring. Surprisingly, while our knowledge on the control of feeding has largely expanded over the last decades, our anatomical and functional understanding of how alteration of maternal environment affects this behavior and leads to obesity and type 2 diabetes remains elusive.

As the hypothalamus is a key region controlling feeding behaviors, we seek to further characterize the factors orchestrating the hypothalamic feeding-circuit wiring. The formation of functional neuronal networks relies on axon growth and synaptogenesis developmental processes driven by four guidance protein families. In the laboratory, we are focusing our interests in identifying molecules underlying the excitatory and inhibitory synaptogenesis in key hypothalamic neurons and in deciphering how alteration of maternal environment, including stress, impairs these developmental processes.

To accomplish this innovative research program, we employ cutting-edge techniques in parallel with physiological, behavioral and neurodevelopmental approaches.

Representative Publications

Barbier M, González J.A, Houdayer C, Burdakov D, Risold P-Y, Croizier S. Projections from the Dorsomedial Division of the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis to Hypothalamic Nuclei in the Mouse. (2021) Journal of Comparative Neurology. 1-28. Journal of Comparative Neurology. Apr 1;529(5):929-956

Gervais M, Labouèbe G, Picard A, Thorens B, Croizier S. EphrinB1 Modulates Glutamatergic Inputs into POMC-expressing Progenitors and Controls Glucose Homeostasis. (2020) PLoSBiology. Nov 30;18(11):e3000680.

Vanacker C, Trova S, Shruti S, Casoni F, Messina A, Croizier S, Malone S, Ternier G, Hanchate NK, Rasika S, Bouret SG, Ciofi P, Giacobini P, Prevot V. Neuropilin-1 expression in GnRH neurons regulates prepubertal weight gain and sexual attraction. (2020) EMBO Journal. Aug 5:e104633.

Castillo-Armengol J, Barquissau V, Ji H, Severi I, Venema W, Fernandez EA, Moret C, Nasrallah A, Martinez-Carreres L, Niederhäuser G, Seoane Collazo P, Lagarrigue S, Lopez M, Giordano A, Croizier S, Thorens B, Lopez-Mejia I, Fajas L. Hypothalamic CDK4 regulates thermogenesis through sympathetic innervation of brown adipose tissue. (2020) EMBO Reports. Jul 12:e49807.

van der Klaauw AA*, Croizier S*, Mendes de Oliveira E, Stadler LKJ, Park S, Kong Y, Hendricks AE, Tandon P, Banton MC, Keogh JM, Riley SE, Papadia S, Henning E, Bounds R, Bochukova EG, Mistry V, O’Rahilly S, Simerly RB, INTERVAL, UK10K consortium, Minchin JEN, Barroso I, Jones EY, Bouret SG*, Farooqi IS*. Human Semaphorin 3 variants link development of melanocortin circuits and energy homeostasis. Cell. Feb 7;176(4):729-742.e18.
*Equal contributions

Croizier S, Park S, Maillard J, Bouret SG. Central Dicer-miR-103/107 Controls Differentiation of POMC Progenitors into NPY Neurons and Impacts Glucose Homeostasis. eLife. 2018;7:e40429.

Bochukova E G., Lawler K, Croizier S, Keogh J M., Patel N, Strohbehn G, Lo K K., Humphrey J, Hokken-Koelega A, Damen L, Donze S, Bouret S G., Plagnol V, Farooqi I. S. A transcriptomic signature of the hypothalamic response to fasting and BDNF deficiency in obese individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome. Cell Reports. 2018 Mar 27;22(13):3401-3408.

Maillard J, Park S*, Croizier S*, Vanacker C, Cook JH, Prevot V, Tauber M, Bouret SG. Loss of Magel2 impairs the development of hypothalamic Anorexigenic circuits. Human Molecular Genetics. 2016 Aug 1;25(15):3208-3215.
*Equal contributions

Croizier S, Prevot V, Bouret SG. Leptin controls parasympathetic wiring of the pancreas during Embryonic Life. Cell Reports. 2016 Apr 5;15(1):36-44.


Sophie Croizier

Tel: +41 21 692 3983


Administrative assistant

Melinda Mischler
Tel: +41 21 692 4137